Maybe all you want is to associate yourself with a big-name public relations agency, regardless of what it does for your business. Perhaps it’s enough that your PR person indulges stories about your golf game.
More likely, you want to be a good steward of your company’s brand and purse strings, so you want your PR efforts to provide a good return on investment. With this approach in mind, consider whether your PR agency is:
1. Giving you daily consideration: PR services typically are billed hourly, on a project basis, or, most commonly, on a monthly retainer. If you have contracted for 20 hours per month, for example, you can expect an average of one hour of account service per business day. Those hours probably will be worked in unequal chunks; maybe three hours one day, a half-hour another day, no time on yet another day.
Still, it is reasonable to expect that your PR agency think about you every day to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. If you find that opportunities are being missed that should not have been, then you should consider whether you’re getting the daily consideration you deserve.
2. Making regular contact: What’s the right amount of contact to have with your PR agency? One size does not fit all. If you’re new to PR, or if you are in a new relationship with a PR provider, no doubt you’ll need to spend more time together than if your relationship is more mature. As the client, it is your right to establish a schedule to ensure that your needs are being met on an ongoing basis.
3. Learning about your business: Your story is never fully told because your business is ever-evolving and growing. You will always know more about your business than your PR agency will, so don’t be bashful about sharing your story. Your PR agency should want to keep learning about what you do; you should insist upon it.
4. Worrying more about results for you than awards for its work: We’re a society obsessed with awards and honors and trophies, and the field of advertising and public relations is no exception. But so what if your PR efforts win a PR industry award? Did it generate lots of positive news coverage for you or bring more customers into your store? Increase participation in your charitable event? Don’t be the sucker who gets used only to generate more business for the PR agency.
5. Presenting new ideas: If you find that you’re doing things the same way as you always have, then odds are that your PR agency isn’t creative or ambitious. Are you finding new ways to tell your story? New opportunities to make your charitable event bigger and better? Freshening the design of a newsletter that has had the same look for a while? Sharing informative, compelling content on your blog and social media?
There’s no doubt that a successful business has never-ending needs for public relations services.
But those needs are not never-changing. Make sure your PR agency acts accordingly.